Materials

EUROPEN members operate across the five families of materials used in packaging. EUROPEN is dedicated to satisfactorily resolving the environmental challenges facing the packaging chain in an active and co-operative manner without favouring any specific packaging material or system.

Produced from sand, limestone and soda ash, makes impermeable containers that are easy to open and re-close. In most countries, bottles and other glass containers are either returned to be refilled or are recycled at a high rate.

Deadlines to meet the EU’s 60% glass packaging recycling target 

The deadlines to meet the EU’s 60% glass packaging recycling target are
•    2008 for Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and for EFTA members Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway;
•    2011 for Greece, Ireland and Portugal;
•    2012 for Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia;
•    2013 for Bulgaria, Malta and Romania;
•    2014 for Poland; and
•    2015 for Latvia.

Glass packaging placed on the market 1998 - 2011

According to EUROSTAT data, the tonnage of glass packaging placed on the market in EU-15 fell by 5.7% between 1998 and 2011, an average annual reduction of 0.4%. The tonnage of glass packaging placed on the market in EU-12 fell by 6.0% between 2005 and 2011, an average annual reduction of 0.6%. It is not possible to tell from the data how far this was due to lightweighting and how far to changes in demand.

Read more: EUROPEN in-depth analysis on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2011

Metal is used to make containers, foils and closures.  Tinned steel is used for food cans and some beverage cans. Aluminium is used for most beverage cans, foils and closures. Both types of can are recycled at high levels with significant environmental benefits.

Foils are often used in laminates with paper and plastic materials to make flexible packaging and beverage containers.

Deadlines to meet the EU’s 50% metal packaging recycling target

•    2008 for Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the UK and for EFTA members Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway;
•    2011 for Greece, Ireland and Portugal;
•    2012 for Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia;
•    2013 for Malta;
•    2014 for Poland; and
•    2015 for Latvia.

Metal packaging placed on the market 1998 - 2011

According to EUROSTAT data, the tonnage of metal packaging placed on the market in EU-15 fell by 10.9% between 1998 and 2011, an average annual reduction of 0.9%. It is not possible to tell from the data how far this was due to lightweighting and how far to changes in demand. The tonnage of metal packaging placed on the market in EU-12 rose by 3.3% between 2005 and 2011, an average annual increase of 1.2%.

Read more: EUROPEN in-depth analysis on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2011

Paper & board is based on organic fibres from wood and other biomass sources. Paper is readily recycled and high recycling levels are achieved.

For product packaging, paper is frequently used in combination with coatings, foil, wax or plastic materials to provide barrier properties and sealability.

For secondary and tertiary packaging, corrugated board is commonly used and generally has significant levels of recycled material.

Paper & board packaging recycling rates 1998 - 2011

The deadlines to meet the EU’s 60% paper and board packaging recycling target are
•    2008 for Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, the UK and for EFTA members Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway;
•    2011 for Greece, Ireland and Portugal;
•    2012 for Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia;
•    2013 for Malta;
•    2014 for Poland; and
•    2015 for Latvia.

Paper & board packaging placed on the market 1998 - 2011

According to EUROSTAT data, the tonnage of paper & board packaging placed on the market in EU-15 rose by 14.2% between 1998 and 2011, an average annual increase of 1.1%. The tonnage of paper & board packaging placed on the market in EU-12 has fluctuated greatly, but the outcome was an increase of 10.6% between 2005 and 2011.

Read more: EUROPEN in-depth analysis on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2011

Plastics, made from oil or biomass, come in a number of specialised varieties. Polyester (PET), polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) are used to make bottles and other lightweight containers as well as flexible packaging.

Plastic packaging can be reused, recycled or used for energy recovery. Certain types of plastics can also be composted.

Plastic packaging recycling rates 1998 - 2011

The deadlines to meet the EU’s 22.5% plastic packaging recycling target are:
•    2008 for Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and for EFTA members Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway;
•    2011 for Greece, Ireland and Portugal;
•    2012 for Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia;
•    2013 for Bulgaria, Malta and Romania;
•    2014 for Poland; and
•    2015 for Latvia.

Plastic packaging placed on the market 1998 - 2011

According to EUROSTAT data, the tonnage of plastic packaging placed on the market in EU-15 rose by 32.3% between 1998 and 2011, an average annual increase of 2.2%. The tonnage of plastic packaging placed on the market in EU-12 rose by 8.8% between 2005 and 2011, also an average annual increase of 2.2%.

Read more: EUROPEN in-depth analysis on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2011

 

Wood, used mostly for pallets and crates, is also used for some niche products such as wine cases. The wood generally comes from managed forests and is frequently reused for a number of transport cycles. 


Wood packaging recycling rates 1998 - 2011

The deadlines to meet the EU’s 15% wooden packaging recycling target are
•    2008 for Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and for EFTA members Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway;
•    2011 for Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Romania;
•    2012 for Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia;
•    2013 for Malta;
•    2014 for Poland; and
•    2015 for Latvia.

Wood packaging placed on the market 1998 - 2011

According to EUROSTAT data, the tonnage of wood packaging placed on the market in EU-15 fell by 5.5% between 2003 and 2011, an average annual reduction of 1.1%. On the other hand, the tonnage of wood packaging placed on the market in EU-12 was reported to have increased by 63.8% between 2005 and 2011, an average annual increase of 9.3%.

Read more: EUROPEN in-depth analysis on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2011